I picked this one up because I’d read it once before, but couldn’t remember anything about it. It’s about the battle of Gettysburg, and it will both educate you and rip your heart out.
The Killer Angels, by Michael Shaara, is possibly the only history book I’ve ever read that I would recommend to a non-history buff without hesitation. It reads like a novel, and it’s incredibly detailed and well-researched.
I would not recommend it to anyone who doesn’t want a sad ending (people die in war), or to anyone who isn’t remotely interested in any aspect of the American Civil War. But the entire thing really does read just as easily as any fantasy book I’ve ever read, the characters are very real (although they come at you fast), and Shaara’s descriptions make you feel like you’re really there. He also does an excellent job of describing the war in nonpartisan terms – or maybe dual-partisan terms. You feel the heart and soul of both Union and Confederate causes, and start to realize why it was so hard for anyone to see the other side of it, or so hard for some people to choose sides at all.
If you haven’t read it, I recommend you try the first 30 pages or so. If you like those pages, read the whole thing. ♦